How to Talk to Kids about the Barcelona Terror Attack: Tips & Scripts Included

credit: CBS

Just as we are trying to make sense of the loss, heartache and anger of what happened in Charlottesville, we are faced, again, with another act of terror in Barcelona. While adults are reeling, our children will likely have concerns and questions about what has just occurred. Here are some tips, conversation starters and scripts you can use to help talk about this terrible incident with your kids:

  1. Be their first source: I know this is hard as we don’t always know what to say to our children when scary things happen. But information is best coming from a trusted source—and that trusted source is you. You know your child and know how to be sensitive to the way your child needs to receive it. These details may have already started to leak out so it’s best not to wait. While you can limit gruesome details based on age and maturity, you can provide the information your children need to know to feel cared for and safe.

    You can say: “Someone who has hate in their heart and is angry and confused about what is right, kind and fair, hurt a lot of people in Barcelona, a city in Spain, which is in Europe. A lot of people are very upset right now but the people in charge are doing everything they can to keep people safe.”

    2. Let them know about the helpers: When situations seem unsure, children need to know that the grown-ups are helping those in need. Kids become very nervous that they will be left on their own if something bad happens and some anxiety can be alleviated by being sure that someone is in charge of safety.

    You can say: “Authorities are working to keep people safe. The police have already found the person who caused the harm to the people in Barcelona. Medical staff, like doctors and nurses, are helping those who have been hurt.”

    3. Let them know they are safe and these incidents are very rare: While tragedy recently struck Charlottesville, this does not mean that fatal acts of hate and terror are happening all the time. What are the kids thinking right now? They are thinking about their own safety and the safety of those they love. My daughter asked, when we spoke about the sad and angering act of hate in Charlottesville, “Is this going to happen here?”

    You can say: “These kinds of incidents are extremely rare, my love, and the people in charge are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.”

    4. Stay calm: You are human. It is normal and natural to feel angry, sad, shocked or even numb when senseless acts occur. As a parent, teacher or child mentor, being “there” for young people sometimes means keeping our emotions in check so that we don’t overwhelm or alarm our children. While you certainly don’t need to be stoic or aloof—and you can talk about your sad or angry feelings when terror attacks happen—the full gravity of your feelings should be reserved for other trusted adults in your life.

    You can say: “It makes me feel very sad and angry when I hear that someone who has hate in their heart hurts other people. It’s not right or fair. How do YOU feel about it?”

    5. Expect that questions may not all come out at once: Children often need time to process information—especially information that is upsetting, confusing or surprising. It’s normal for children to have questions about sensitive topics over time. It may go on for weeks—a question here and a question there—never lasting more than a minute or two. Other times you may have a few longer conversations. Children process tough topics in different ways. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer— you can always tell your children that you will look up the answer and get back to them when you know. It’s also completely OK to say “I don’t know” when the answer is not answerable. Be a source of comfort—and know when your child has had enough.

    You can say: “I’m happy to answer your questions. What do you want to know?” And “I’m really not sure of the answer to that question right now, but I will look it up and get you the answer.” Or “I wish I knew for sure that this kind of thing will never happen again. What I do know is that the person who did it was captured by the authorities and can no longer hurt anyone.”

    6. Remain open to dealing with fears and concerns: Don’t be surprised if fears and concerns seem illogical, disconnected and come at unusual times. You might be driving your child to school on a beautiful sunny day when your child pops a question about something that happened days or even weeks before. Your child may develop a temporary fear of the dark, loud noises, people in uniform or otherwise while trying to regain their footing. Be patient and open to talking, reassuring and even just “there” during these tough times. This is tough for everyone.

    You can say: “Is there something I can do to help you feel safer or more secure?” or “Would you like advice or would you prefer that I just listen?”

    7. Know that unusual conduct or feelings may arise: Sometimes frightening and unexpected news can make children act out different ways. These behaviors may surprise you. Some kids may become clingy or hyper while others may become withdrawn and quiet. Some may sleep more while others may sleep less. Still others may eat more while others may report that they aren’t hungry.

    You can say: “Would you like to talk about your feelings? I am always here to listen. Your emotions are all OK and what you feeling is normal when bad things happen. You can feel any way that you do

    8. Don’t stop living: It is natural to want to protect your family when bad things happen. You may be wishing that you want to construct a bubble for everyone you love to live in just to keep potential dangers out. I get it. I’m a parent too. But living in fear is no way to live. Instead, enjoy everyday. Love deeper. Hug longer. And remember, there is more good than bad in the world.

    You can say: “I am so grateful for you. And I’m thankful for all those who work around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. Would you like to talk about why you are grateful today? What have you been able to do today because there are wonderful people who help us stay safe?”

    (9) Focus on the good: And don’t forget to remind your children of the good in the world. There are everyday people doing wonderful things. We don’t always hear about them, but there are. There are people who are solving medical mysteries and there are people who are building schools and helping children in need.

    You can say: “There are kids, just like you, helping the new child at school, talking to the scared friend on the bus, standing up to someone who is being unkind and giving a hug to a friend who is feeling sad. You do many kind things to help others. What have you done to help someone today? How did someone else help you?”

    (10) Allow them to contribute: People often remind kids to look for the helpers in this world—and that is a wonderful strategy. But just as important is to allow your child to find a way to be helpful. Instead of blocking out the world, let us teach our children to become the kind of people that make this world a better place. Children thrive when they feel that they can contribute to their family, their community, their country and beyond. Encourage them to do that. They may even be able to help the people of Barcelona as the charities who are providing assistance emerge. By doing so, you will teach them that there is a lot more good in this world than there is evil. And, yes, they are a big part of that good. In other words, they don’t just need to look for the helpers, they can become them.

    You can say; “How can we be helpful to someone who is suffering today?”

    This is a tough time but let’s keep the path of communication open. It is a source of connection and love—and lord knows we need more of that right now.

Thinking of Barcelona and all those who are grieving losses due to hate or terror attacks right now.

xo

10 Powerful Conversation Starters: How to Talk to Kids about Resilience

From bullying to disasters to the scary happenings we see on the news, raising kids in today’s world can be challenging. It’s easy to see why teachers, parents, coaches and other adults in the lives of children want to shield children from all hardships. Of course, this isn’t possible and over-protecting children and keeping them from experiencing failure isn’t the answer to adversity. What is? Teaching resilience.

Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from stress, challenge, trauma, failure and adversity. We see it when our kids pick themselves up after they fall and try again. We see it when they study harder, try out again, make the 3rd attempt, and solve problems on their own even though they could take the easy way out. I like to explain it this way:

Think about an elastic band. You can stretch it out, twist it, pull it– and what happens when you stop stretching it? It bounces back. Just like an elastic band, resilience allows us to “bounce back” when we are pulled, stretched, twisted and challenged. Now think of a rubber ball. What happens when you throw that rubber ball down at the floor or at the wall? It bounces back! Just like an elastic band or a rubber ball, resilience allows us to “bounce back” when life gets tough or challenging. We can be like that elastic band or that rubber ball! When life pushes us down…we bounce back up!

Feel free to use the 10 Conversation Starters to help you talk about resilience with the children in your life. The Powerful Word of the Month is resilience for July– but this is a word we can use all year long to help us through anything that pulls us out of our comfort zone or challenges our emotions, frustration level or even physical being. I’m thinking of you every step of the way- and come up onto Facebook so we can discuss all kinds of great topics on Facebook or request to be in the brand new; How to Talk to Kids about Anything private group!

Thank you for being part of our family!

The Seven Silencing Reasons We Don’t Have Tough Conversations with Our Kids

Sex. Death. Porn. Divorce. Conversations like these often make us squirm in our seats– even before we have these talks with our kids. So what happens? We wait. Sometimes we don’t have them at all.

Why don’t we have these tough conversations?

  1. We don’t know what to say: These conversations don’t exactly role off the tongue. Where do we start? How do we explain it? We feel awkward and out-of-our element. Even if we speak with others for a living, conversations with our favorite little humans can challenge us in ways that co-workers, students or someone else’s kids never could.
  2. They are embarrassing, uncomfortable or emotionally charged: Discussions about sex, divorce or death aren’t easy. There is a lot of emotion behind them that come from our own hang-ups, experiences and hot-buttons– sometimes on both sides. It doesn’t help that the more awkward and emotional we feel about them, the more our children tend to react to and absorb those emotions.
  3. We are afraid that we won’t know all the answers: What if our kids ask us something that we simply don’t know how to answer? We worry about feeling unprepared.
  4. These conversations can feel taboo: Are we supposed to be talking about this stuff? After all, in many cases, our parents didn’t talk about it with us. These are words we usually don’t say or speak about in hushed tones– or at least only with our closest friends.
  5. We feel our kids won’t want to discuss them with us: We may think that the kids would rather do something– anything- rather than talking to us about these tough topics. They might think they are weird, embarrassing or totally off-the-charts gross.
  6. We don’t know when to have them: Are our children really old enough to hear this? How do I say it in a way that won’t scare them? How do I say it so that they understand? When do I start these conversations with my kids?
  7. We assume they already know: This is the ultimate way to bury our heads in the sand. Maybe they already know! Someone must have spoken to them about this stuff– maybe even you- and they are all set now because that talk is crossed off your list.

While there are countless reasons why we don’t want to have these key conversations with our kids– there are just as many reasons why we must. Our kids need us to be open and honest with them so that they know they can trust us, ask us anything, come to us when the sh*t hits the fan or when life gets confusing or uncomfortable. It’s time to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable– let’s have these talks and let’s have them often. Today is as good of a day as any.

Need help? We’ve got the tips and scripts you might need right now- I want to help! With the top experts in their area, my podcast, How to Talk to Kids about Anything, gives tips, scripts, stories and steps to make even the toughest conversations easier. More are added each week. And there is no topic we won’t cover.

We’re here– and you’ve got this!

10 Powerful Conversation Starters to Talk to Kids about Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship, showing respect for the rules, the participants and the spirit of competition, is an important powerful word all kids (and adults) must learn when competing with others. Given that May is Sportsmanship month for Powerful Words Character Development, this is a great time to discuss sportsmanship with your children.

How can you start the conversation about sportsmanship with your kids? Here are 10 Conversation Starters that will allow you to teach your kids about sportsmanship– as well as learn what they think, feel and believe about good sportsmanship.

Topics may range from what a good sport or bad sport means to how we can be gracious winners and refrain from being sore losers, to specific issues of cheating, boasting and failing in competition. What are some ways that your children can show great sportsmanship? Why do we need to follow these respect-based rules anyway? How can our actions at a game impact the spirit of competition?

We have all seen terrible sportsmanship- from what we see on TV to what we see on the fields right in front of our faces. What have you seen? What actions do you think are okay and which actions do you feel need to be addressed? When we stay silent, it could look like we approve. And interestingly, your kids may have a great deal to say about what they have seen and heard– it will be great to get their perspective.

What do your kids think? Do you see good or bad sportsmanship around you– and how can your family contribute to the positive end of sportsmanship? Hopefully you are talking about this topic in classes this month with all the scripts and tips from Powerful Words on sportsmanship- we’d love to hear about it!

Feel free to share- and discuss!

Warm regards,

PS A podcast on Sportsmanship will be coming out in the next month or so. Keep a look out and subscribe– so you can be the first to know! You can look right here on the podcast page or subscribe on iTunes (or whatever podcast site you listen through) and I know- you’ll love it!

Double the Fun! Two New Podcasts Out on Empathy and the Death of a Pet

Good morning! Aren’t Tuesdays fun?

For one thing, they aren’t Mondays—and for another, another episode of How to Talk to Kids about Anything is available! And you know what? THIS Tuesday is double the fun because we have TWO episodes available for you as an extra bit of love for you this week.

***First, we have How to Talk to Kids about Empathy and Entitlement by the amazing best-selling author & Today Show contributor, Dr. Michele Borba.

Based on her new book (softcover version out TODAY!), UnSelfie, Michele provides us with outstanding tips and scripts to raise empathetic, caring kids in an “all-about me” world. Michele has traveled widely and studied this topic for years—you don’t want to miss it!

“Once you realize you can nurture empathy, that our children are hardwired for it, you’ll look for dozens of just simple little daily moments to weave it in, take it up, and let your children know it matters. That’s how we produce a better generation of kids: A group of children who are unselfies, who think we, not me.” ~Dr. Michele Borba

***And, as a bonus, for anyone who has a pet or is suffering from pet-loss grief, we have How to Talk to Kids about the Death of a Pet. Best-selling author, Wendy Van de Poll, provides tips to help adults know how to help a child grieve when a pet dies as well as what to say to a child when a pet is sick and death is imminent. She also provides ways to help support a child in moving forward to engage in positive memories to help heal the grief.

The relationships that children have with animals are purely magical.” ~Wendy Van de Poll

You can get any of the podcasts on my website as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast delivery sites.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! And if you love this episode like I did, it would be so awesome to have you subscribe, rate and review it on iTunes so that others learn all about it. And please, feel free to share it!

Happy Listening!

How to Talk to Kids about Money: Interview with Neale Godfrey

How do we talk to kids about money and financial responsibility? Last week on How to Talk to Kids about Anything, we spoke to Neale Godfrey, author of 27 books that empower families and kids to take charge of their financial lives. (Access through iTunes, my website, or Stitcher, etc).

This episode focuses on talking to kids (and teaching kids) about money. Why is this important? Raising children who understand money is vital to their future financial health, independence and future fiscal behavior! Children and teens need to learn the value of money as well as how to budget, plan, earn, save, invest and give to causes and charities that mean something to them. Money management is a life skill that all children must learn to become responsible, successful adults.

“If you don’t teach your kids about money, their friends will do it…and they’re all bozos!” ~Neale Godfrey

I can’t wait to hear what you think and how you are going to apply it at home or in your school! And if you love this episode like I did, it would be so awesome to have you subscribe, rate and review it on iTunes so that others learn all about it. And please, feel free to share it!

Happy Listening!

 

Dear friend: Be sweet to yourself

Dear sweet friend,

We can often be so hard on ourselves. Perhaps our inner voice tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough, thin enough, driven enough, and countless other “enoughs” we feel we don’t or can’t reach.

On this day, the 11th anniversary of my dear father’s death, I want you to know that while we can all improve in many ways, you are, indeed, enough. Just as you are.

My father had many faults, as we all do, but today I am remembering his generosity, his patience, his brilliance, his kindness and his love for family. I am thinking about his smile, his gentle eyes, his quiet way and his loving hugs.

Do you know what I am not thinking about? Where he fell short.

So today, be sweet to yourself. See the good in people and allow them to see the good in you. But above all, allow yourself to see the good in you. There is so much. I assure you, there is.

Warmest regards,

Why you MUST let your children fail

What is the gift of failure?

“Really Gift of Failure is…about fostering intrinsic motivation in kids—getting kids to want to do something for the sake of the thing itself.” ~Jessica Lahey, The Gift of Failure

When children don’t have the opportunity to fail when they are young and stakes are low, they don’t have the skills and resilience to bounce back when then they are older and the stakes are higher. They need to develop the systems and attitude that allow them to go after what they want and need without us, as parents and educators, taking over and doing it for them.

But how do we do it and what do we say to our kids about failure? We talk all about this topic on the new episode of How to Talk to Kids about the Gift of Failure with the fabulous best-selling author, Jessica Lahey! Get it on iTunes here or on our website here! Read more

Dr. Robyn on Nightline: What is Elizabeth Thomas’ state of mind at age 15?

I was on Nightline the other night, talking about Elizabeth Thomas and her possible state of mind after being found with her 50-year-old teacher, Tad Cummins.

When a young girl is feeling alone or misunderstood, an older, trusted teacher can be a welcome person in her life. Usually a teacher-student relationship can be a wonderful source of help but clearly this relationship crossed the line and became inappropriate and exploitive. Being a teacher is a unique position of power and intimacy in a child’s life- you are trusted and you have proximity.

Elizabeth is likely in crisis right now. She needs love and understanding from her family and those who love her. This was a cry for help and now, she needs to get the help she needs to become healthy and secure in her life. What was she trying to tell her family? What was going on right before she left? These issues must be addressed as they were the catalyst to the incident.

Nightline: 04/20/17: Missing Student Elizabeth Thomas Found, Teacher Arrested in California Watch Full Episode | 04/20/2017

How is she feeling? Nobody but Elizabeth knows for sure. But I would venture to guess that Elizabeth is likely feeling confused right now. This is someone she has trusted for a long time and likely believed was working in her best interest- this is not likely someone she saw as a criminal or inappropriate. So being taken away from him actually may feel like a loss for her- a loss of someone she trusted so much that she left her life with him. I imagine she is feeling many things right now so it’s time for some understanding and patience as she gets the help she needs.

*Now that child abuse charges have surfaced regarding Elizabeth Thomas’ mother, this adds and important layer to why Elizabeth left, why she got attached to her teacher in the first place, and why she seemed unhappy or reluctant to come back to her life in Tennessee. This girl needs patience, time and help– and it seems that her family will also need support in order for everyone to get back on track.

 

 

 

The 4th Trimester: Dr. Robyn Silverman on Good Morning America

After a woman has a baby, her body continues to change. What has been dubbed “the 4th trimester,” the 3 months after the birth of a child, can be a time when women can feel at odds with their bodies. Still, this is a time when woman should be celebrating their bodies– look at what they just did! No need to wait- you are beautiful now.

Good Morning America came to the house to talk with me about it– as an intro to their a makeover segment with a beautiful woman who had recently given birth to a daughter.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos